"Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe. Informal writing assignment relating an American superstition to the superstitions of the Ibo people.

Essay by pixee86High School, 12th gradeA+, January 2004

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A childish superstition found in our society is about a woman named Bloody Mary. The story is that if you go into a bathroom and turn off the lights, and say "Bloody Mary" thirteen times, standing in front of a mirror, at the stroke of midnight, Bloody Mary herself will come out of the mirror and kill you.

This superstition is very different from most of the ones that we have examined in TFA. I would assume that mostly only children believe or even consider the Bloody Mary superstition. However, the Ibo's superstitions are widely trusted, and are quite often taken very seriously. They would not regard their beliefs as superstitions. However, of the children who ponder the idea of Bloody Mary, I am guessing (and remembering) that only a few hold it in absolute truth. I remember when I was younger and I attempted to conjure Bloody Mary.

I did not truly believe anything would happen. This superstition serves as a way for kids to scare themselves-- a commonly enjoyed pastime. It also serves as a way to sate their curiosity.

The Ibo take their superstition regarding evil spirits, and not saying, "yes?" to outside callers very seriously. They obey this superstition on a daily basis. For the Ibo, many superstitions often function as laws. For us, many superstitions function as entertainment, or ways of toying with the supernatural. For us, some superstitions function as silly rules, such as opening umbrellas inside, black cats crossing your path, not forwarding chain mail, and breaking mirrors. On the subject of forwarding chain mail, this superstition was created for personal gain. People create chain letters for personal gain, warning the recipients of the dire consequences that will occur if they do not participate. Perhaps, the Ibo people, long ago, encountered...